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Redskins Depth Chart Review: Is running back the strongest group on the offense?

Redskins Depth Chart Review: Is running back the strongest group on the offense?

On a projected 53-man roster loaded with question marks, the Redskins running back group actually presents some strong options. 

Redskins Depth Chart Reviews: QuarterbackTight end | Wide Receiver

He might not steal the headlines going into training camp, but Adrian Peterson proved he can still get the job done in a 2018 season where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and more than four yards-per-carry in 16 games. Peterson was the Redskins best offensive player in 2018, and the team re-signed him this offseason because of his impact on the field and the locker room last year.

At 34-years-old it might sound crazy, but Peterson might be the most dependable Redskins offensive player. Based on his play last year, if he gets the same amount of carries and offensive activity, it seems a reasonable proposition he could produce at the same levels. That can't be said for many other players in Burgundy and Gold. 

That doesn't mean there isn't more talent at the running back position. 

Chris Thompson has proven his ability in parts of the last four seasons, though injuries have been a persistent issue for the third-down back. Last year, Thompson played in just 10 games, though he averaged more than five yards-per-touch when he was on the field. Washington head coach Jay Gruden trusts Thompson in pressure situations, and not just for his ability with the ball in his hands, but because he's tremendous in pass protection.

Then there's the wild card: Derrius Guice. 

This time last year, Guice was the story of the Redskins 2018 offseason. An elite talent at LSU, he slipped in the draft to the second round, and the Redskins selected him to shore up their run game. 

He looked great during OTAs and training camp, but injured his knee in the second preseason game in New England. Peterson was signed after that as Guice went through surgery, a post-surgery infection, and now continues to rehab his injured knee. 

Here's the thing though: Guice looks great. He's posted numerous videos and pictures on social media during his recovery and looks ready to go. The Redskins need to be very smart bringing Guice back, both to maximize his impact in 2019 but also for the future. 

If Guice is all the way back this season, the Redskins could have a dynamic run game. The team should use Peterson, Guice and Thompson in significant roles, and keep fresh legs with both the more traditional backs and spell them with speed and pass catching ability on third down. 

The conversation doesn't end there. 

Washington added Stanford RB Bryce Love in the fourth round of the draft. He's an electric playmaker, but he injured his knee late last year. He seems likely to open the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but could potentially join the squad in the second half of the 2019 season. 

Don't forget about Samaje Perine, either. At the NFL League Meetings in Arizona, Gruden spent about five minutes talking up the former University of Oklahoma star.

"Samaje has not gotten the opportunities, I'm upset about that, it's my fault. But I have not given up on Samaje," Gruden said. "He's young, he's strong, he's physical. I need to see him take that next step and I got to give him that opportunity to do that. It's going to be hard with Guice and AP in there to get him the ball, but he deserves an opportunity to get the ball, and I got to figure out a way to get him the ball."

What makes Gruden's soliloquy a bit weird is that Perine was only active in five games last season. He had eight carries. Let it be noted too Gruden's comments came before the team selected Love in the draft. The Redskins also retained Byron Marshall's rights in restricted free agency. He made the team last year before an immediate shift to the injured reserve, and while Gruden seems to like him, his most memorable moments from the 2018 season aren't on the highlight reel. He missed a tackle on a punt return touchdown in Jacksonville, and worse than that, missed a block on the play that saw Alex Smith break his leg.

The Redskins have kept four running backs out of camp the last two seasons, but with an increased need on keeping three quarterbacks, it will be much harder to load up in the backfield. 

Peterson, Guice and Thompson are roster locks. If all three stay healthy, that trio sounds like the most talented position group on the Redskins offense. 

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As injury questions mount for Colt McCoy, what's the impact on Dwayne Haskins?

As injury questions mount for Colt McCoy, what's the impact on Dwayne Haskins?

Colt McCoy deserves better. He's one of the hardest working and nicest players in the NFL. He holds innate leadership traits. His coaches appreciate him and his teammates respect him.

Despite all of that, it seems that for the Redskins 2019 season, McCoy's chances at winning the starting quarterback job are over.

"It's not good for Colt obviously but like I said, what's most important for Colt is to get that [leg] to where he can fire off of it, push off of it. It's his right leg, so he's not getting enough fire off of it push off of it and until he feels like he's 100 percent doing that, I'm not going to put him back there," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Sunday. 

The news about McCoy comes after he missed practice on Sunday and missed Washington's second straight preseason game last Thursday. The veteran quarterback still hasn't gotten past the broken tibia suffered last December, and that included multiple surgeries to try and fix the problem. Now, nearly 10 months later, the problem still isn't fixed. 

"Oh man, it might not be the end of camp, it might be two or three weeks into the season. We don't know yet," Gruden said of McCoy's return. "There's no timetable for him until he feels like he's 100 percent to push off that leg. Until that time comes, he's going to be rehabbing."

As tough as the news is for McCoy, it potentially means something very different for rookie Dwayne Haskins. 

With McCoy in the fold, most informed observers thought he would win the starting job Week 1 in Philadelphia. Now that doesn't seem very likely. Does that mean the rookie could get the gig?

Case Keenum would say no. He's also a veteran passer, and he's started both preseason games with McCoy out. Keenum hasn't been great, but he's been fine, and odds are he starts ahead of Haskins. 

That said, the door for Haskins to emerge as the starter is undoubtedly more open than it was before the latest McCoy news. On the most simple level, two weeks ago Haskins had to beat out Keenum and McCoy to get the start. Now it seems like the Ohio State star just needs to beat out Keenum. 

Haskins still seems like a long shot to start Week 1 in Philadelphia, and that seems like a smart, prudent approach for the Redskins. Maximizing Haskins' immense potential is about years, not weeks, and Washington would not be served by rushing the rookie on the field. 

That said, Haskins might get more chances with the starting group this Thursday in Atlanta. Gruden explained that Haskins already got some time with some starters on the offensive line, and that could increase. 

It's also undeniable that Haskins presents the highest upside of the quarterback group. He was the 15tth overall pick for a reason. He has the biggest arm on the team and showed his big-play ability last week against the Bengals. 

On Sunday Colt McCoy said his return would be "sooner rather than later." He also explained that he visited renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson during training camp. His injury is from last December, and it's still not right. McCoy could be back tomorrow, or he could be back in October. Nobody knows, including the player or the coach. 

The uncertainty around McCoy doesn't guarantee Haskins will take the field any sooner this fall. But it does make the scenario easier to see. 

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Redskins QB Colt McCoy’s status still uncertain as he misses practice again

Redskins QB Colt McCoy’s status still uncertain as he misses practice again

Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy again did not participate in practice on Sunday and his status for the start of the regular season remains unclear, according to coach Jay Gruden. 

McCoy, in a quarterback competition with Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins, has yet to play in a preseason game. He remained confident that his recovery from a broken right leg last Dec. 4 is on track despite setbacks during the offseason and a recurrence of pain during training camp. 

“Sooner rather than later,” McCoy told reporters in the locker room after practice when asked his assessment of a return.  

But that might be wishful thinking. McCoy admitted he went to see renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson while the Redskins were in Richmond for training camp. There is no sign he’s about to return to practice this week before a Thursday preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. 

“It might not be the end of camp, it might be two or three weeks into the season,” Gruden said. “We don't know yet. Like I said, there's no timetable for him until he feels like he's 100 percent to push off that leg. Until that time comes, he's going to be rehabbing.”  

Gruden admitted surprise that the broken leg hasn’t healed completely almost months after McCoy went down in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but cast no blame on the training or medical staff and called it “a fluke-type thing.” 

Gruden said that McCoy did not re-aggravate the injury at all during training camp in Richmond. It’s the same injury he’s been trying to heal from for months. He also wasn’t ready to say if the Redskins would pursue another quarterback. 

That can wait until after the third preseason game and when they have a better idea of McCoy’s status and whether they absolutely need one on the roster. For now, Gruden believes McCoy is on a path to return. It shouldn’t be too long. Maybe. But when, exactly, has left everyone frustrated. 

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